11/20/2013 4:15PM

Promising Babies


Let's take a peek at some promising 2-year-olds.

SHARED BELIEF (Candy Ride - Common Hope, by Storm Cat), a gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, couldn't have been more impressive in both career starts out in California.  He made his debut at Golden Gate on October 19, stepped six furlongs in 1:09.53 and ran a final quarter in 23.73 while winning by seven lengths.  Privately purchased after that start, he then blew away four others in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs on November 10 (won by 7 3/4 lengths with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, finished his final eighth in 11.76 seconds).  He's yet to route and has yet to race on dirt, but will likely be a very strong contender in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity over the cushion track on December 14.  From a pedigree standpoint, he's a half-brother to Little Miss Holly, winner of the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks on dirt at 1 1/16 miles.  Another half-sister, Double Major, finished third in the Sunshine Millions Oaks at six furlongs.  The dam won sprinting and is a half-sister to Grade 1 sprint winner Key Phrase (dam of the swift Yankee Gentleman).  We'll see how far he ultimately wants to go, but Shared Belief has been very good thus far.

Although GREEN MASK (Mizzen Mast - Bonsai Beauty, by Forestry) only earned a 79 Beyer Speed Figure in his debut on October 24, he may have been the most visually impressive winner during the fall Keeneland meeting.  Trained by Wesley Ward, Green Mask was in cruise control throughout his six furlong race.  He won by 5 1/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion and completed his last quarter in 23.48 with a final eighth in 11.86.  It's still uncertain if he beat anything of quality (only one of five next-out runners cracked the board and that horse needed a drop to 40K maiden claimers in order to complete the trifecta at Churchill Downs) and the pedigree seems geared more to synthetic and turf racing.  A $37,000 yearling that resold for $150,000 in April, he's the first runner from an unraced half-sister to Grade 2 turf winner Masseuse, turf stakes-winner Second Performance, and long-winded turf stakes-winner Buff. 

TOP FORTITUDE, an Arizona-bred colt with a nice pedigree (kin to four blacktype earners including Grade 2 route winner Uh Oh Bango and multiple stakes-winner Ez Dreamer), may not seem like a Derby horse, but he ran quickly under jockey Kayla Stra at 6 1/2 furlongs over the cushion track on November 16.  Top Fortitude earned a 92 Beyer for trainer R. Kory Owens.  Don't let the AZ-bred designation fool you.  The dam throws runners.

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (11/4/13 - 11/10/13):

1. MORDI'S MIRACLE - 104 - Millions Classic Preview Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
2. PRAETEREO - 102 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
3. CYCLOMETER - 101 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs
4. SHARED BELIEF - 99 - Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
5. BAD DEBT - 98 - Millions Turf Preview Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
5. MAJOR MARVEL - 98 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Churchill
7. LA VERDAD - 97 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
7. SPEAK LOGISTICS - 97 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
9. ATTHISPOINTINTIME - 96 - Alw 16000s - 7 Furlongs - Parx
10. ARLO - 95 - Alw 68700C - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
10. BIG MACHER - 95 - Alw 48750N1X - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
10. IVAN FALLUNOVALOT - 95 - OC 18k/N1X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Retama
10. KHARAFA - 95 - Three Coins Up Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
14. BLACK BEAR - 94 - Alw 40000NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Remington
14. SCHILLING - 94 - Alw 33320NC - 1 Mile (Turf) - Golden Gate
16. DROGUE - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Churchill
16. RES JUDICATA - 93 - City of Laurel Stakes - Laurel
16. TE RAPA - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
19. ABACO - 92 - Cardinal Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
19. CAST A DOUBT - 92 - Clm c-(16-14) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
19. RUSH NOW - 92 - OC 40k/N3X - 1 Mile - Parx
22. DEANAALLEN'SKITTEN - 91 - Trevita Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
22. GRAEME CRACKERJACK - 91 - Clm 8000 - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
22. OL WINEDRINKER WHO - 91 - Veteran Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Zia
22. SPIRIT RULES - 91 - Alw 57390N1X - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood

*The lifetime past performances for MORDI'S MIRACLE are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*CAST A DOUBT was claimed for $16,000 by trainer Bob Hess Jr. from John Sadler.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (11/11/13 - 11/17/13):

1. CSABA - 104 - Alw 30640C - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
2. GALLANT SON - 101 - Oakland Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
3. EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH - 100 - Jennings Handicap - 1 Mile - Laurel
4. SAN ONOFRE - 98 - Md Sp Wt 45k - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
5. ARROGANT OFFICER - 97 - Alw 10000s - 6 Furlongs - Parx
5. CHAMOIS - 97 - Duluth Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
5. DADS CAPS - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
5. SINGANOTHERSONG - 97 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
9. HOLY CANDY - 96 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
9. WORK ALL WEEK - 96 - Lightning Jet Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
11. LUCY'S BOB BOY - 95 - A Huevo Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Charles Town
11. SLIVER AND ONIONS - 95 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
13. ALPHA BETTOR - 94 - Autumn Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
13. HOMEBOYKRIS - 94 - Clm c-25000 - 1 Mile - Churchill
15. BELLARMINE - 93 - Clm 50000 - 1 Mile - Churchill
15. IMAGINING - 93 - Red Smith Handicap (G3) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
15. RIVER SEVEN - 93 - Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
15. SERVICE FOR TEN - 93 - Dave's Friend Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
19. BIGGER IS BETTOR - 92 - Slew O'Gold Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
19. ET TU WALKER - 92 - OC c-62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
19. TOP FORTITUDE - 92 - Md Sp Wt 46k - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
19. WARONTHEHOMEFRONT - 92 - Alw 7500s - 1 Mile - Remington
23. CHEYENNE NATION - 91 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
23. HOMERUN BERTI - 91 - Lea County Stakes - 91 - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Zia
23. MIGHTY IAN - 91 - OC35k/SAL35k - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
23. RANULF - 91 - Clm 25000(25-22.5)N2L - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
23. ROCK AND GLORY - 91 - Alw 52000N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood

*The lifetime past performances for CSABA are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*HOMEBOYKRIS, 16th in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Joe Woodard from Michael Maker.

*ET TU WALKER was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Patrick Biancone from Doug O'Neill.


Apologies for a late question (hopefully not too late) - real life required some attention - but I was intrigued and saddened by your mention of trainer Richard Hannon's appalling race record in North America. 16 - 0 - 1 - 0. Wow.
You will be aware of his prowess in Britain and elsewhere, his complete failure makes no sense to me. Relying on Wikipedia (and memory), Hannon has been champion trainer 3 times, including 2013. He has won at 18% over the last 5 years. Those wins include 32 at Royal Ascot, 4 English Classics, 2 more Classics in Ireland, and several very good races in France. Hannon is EASILY our most successful trainer of 2 year olds. And yet you reckon he has just one 2nd place finish from 16 attempts over your way.
Have you any theories?
Are there any top level US trainers who can't get themselves a Breeders Cup victory?
Best Regards - Bernard Downes

Here is the list of Hannon's North American starters:

1991:  Only Yours - 8th Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Keeneland) at 7-1 odds.
1991:  Showbrook - 14th Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Churchill) at 25-1 odds.
1992:  Fair Crack - 8th Hoist the Flag Stakes (Hollywood) at 2-1 odds.
1992:  My Memoirs - 2nd Belmont Stakes (Belmont) at 18-1 odds.
1992:  Central City - 7th Laurel Dash (Laurel) at 13-1 odds.
1992:  Beyton - 6th Rothmans International (Woodbine) at 29-1 odds.
1992:  Mr Brooks - DNF Breeders' Cup Sprint (Gulfstream) at 7-1 odds.
1993:  Surprise Offer - 10th Breeders Cup Sprint (Santa Anita) at 17-1 odds.
1995:  Commoner - 6th Rothmans International (Woodbine) at 60-1 odds.
2005:  Cool Creek - DNF Breeders' Futurity (Keeneland) at 7-1 odds.
2010:  Tale Untold - 11th Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Churchill) at 12-1 odds.
2010:  Paco Boy - 4th Breeders' Cup Mile (Churchill) at 7-1 odds.
2011:  Strong Suit - 10th Breeders' Cup Mile (Churchill) at 7-1 odds.
2012:  Sky Lantern - 8th Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Santa Anita) at 5-2 odds.
2013:  Shamshon - 11th Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Santa Anita) at 32-1 odds.
2013:  Olympic Glory - 9th Breeders' Cup Mile (Santa Anita) at 9-2 odds.

I think it's a combination of bad luck (Sky Lantern had terrible trouble, Mr. Brooks broke down), some questionable placement (Showbrook, Surprise Offer, Cool Creek on dirt) and an owner's strong desire to run in spots where Hannon wasn't totally comfortable (Shamshon, Olympic Glory).

Of the top North American-based trainers, Christophe Clement (0-23), John Sadler (0-31), Wesley Ward (0-16), Mike Mitchell (0-14), Allen Jerkens (0-11) and Mark Casse (0-19) come to mind as it pertains to poor Breeders' Cup records.


Dan and others, any thoughts of this possible future star and path to the 3 year old year?? I would like to see a star rise to the top.
Whackymacky Out!!!

HONOR CODE is obviously a very talented colt with a huge amount of upside, a big pedigree, and top-notch connections.  His debut was very impressive, he ran well in the Champagne and he should be very tough in the upcoming Remsen at Aqueduct.  Right now, he's at the very top of many Kentucky Derby lists, but I am a bit concerned that he hasn't shown much early speed in his races.  If he continues with this late-closing running style, he's going to be confronted with pace and trip issues in bigger fields against tougher horses.


Greetings Dan,
I am wondering if you post the past performances for the talented CA filly, Nashoba's Key. She was one of my favorite fillies, and my heart broke when she died in a freak stall accident. Unfortunately, we never got to see her compete against Zenyatta in the 2008 Santa Margarita. I remember she had a couple of lackluster outings on the turf before winning the Santa Margarita in 1:48:8. The pace was awkward with 4 furlongs going in 50 seconds and 6 furlongs 1:14:2. Then came the rapid fire 34:6 finish.

NASHOBA'S KEY's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Annie, I'm willing to administer the kiss of death to another MKB horse this year.  Please sign me up.



It looks as if we'll have our annual FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park early next year.  For more details, head on over to Laura's excellent website


It's always a blast so come on out if you can.


The weekend handicapping previews should be available on the site soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Ed Kay for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling contest.

Rick M's HandiGambling scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Ed selected Friday's seventh race at Aqueduct for this week's exercise.


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Best of luck to all.


I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!




Mordi'sMiracle.pdf723.46 KB
Csaba.pdf685.82 KB
Nashoba's Key.pdf573.19 KB
Copy of Formblog Aqueduct 11-8-13.xls67.5 KB
HGAQUTURF.pdf217.08 KB
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
2012 KENTUCKY DERBY – WHERE ARE THEY NOW I’ll Have Another – I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so… Bodemeister – standing at WinStar Dullahan – retired and passed on from a ruptured colon Went the Day Well – throat surgery and no works, anything since March. Probably done Creative Cause – standing at Airdrie Liaison – standing at Spendthrift Union Rags – standing at Lane’s End Rousing Sermon – is actually still running, last out a win in the On Trust Handicap on 11-24-13 Hansen – enjoying the kimchee in South Korea Daddy Nose Best – still racing, last out a 5th in the River City Handicap on 11-23-13 Optimizer – don’t know, he was eased in his last (Sword Dancer) in August and hasn’t worked since Alpha – still racing, questionable for the Cigar Mile this weekend. El Padrino – at stud in Pennsylvania, his half-brother Verrazano is retired too Done Talking – finished 10th last weekend in Laurel in an AOC Sabercat – finished 7th in the Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Downs on October 5th Gemologist – standing at WinStar Trinniberg – retired to stud at Rockridge Prospective – retired to stud, haven’t determined which farm yet Take Charge Indy – retired to stud at WinStar Daddy Long Legs – finished 5th at Newmarket on November 2nd in a weight for age stakes So the correct answer is six of the 20 – Rousing Sermon, Daddy Nose Best, Alpha, Done Talking, Sabercat and Daddy Long Legs. Went the Day Well and Optimizer are not retired but it looks like they are through. One year and only 6 out of 20 are still running… Guess we know why the handicap divisions suck swamp water.
Jeanne More than 1 year ago
Oh, NO!!! Curt V, I'm so sorry to read about Diamond Girl!!! :( Jeanne Okiesharp3 hours ago I got an email from Curt V and he is quite distraught over the passing of his mare “Diamond Girl”…..here’s what he had to say in part: “Seems she died of twisted intestines. Not an uncommon thing the guy said. He sees it all the time. It brings on Colic, which in turn, brings demise in 12 to 48 hrs. They seem to get it from rolling around on the ground. Nothing one can do about it either. Seems logical I suppose, since she was never sick or never shown symptoms before”. I saw her picture & she was indeed a beautiful horse. God bless you Curt & RIP “Diamond Girl” Okiesharp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all!!! Jeanne
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
I never take anything personally, I have been in the sales game for over 30 years. I realize that there are different strokes and different ideas. I just want to try to get into the heads of people. When I was a young handicapper I was listening to some dude pontificate about horses and betting strategies. He seemed to know what he was talking about. My brother took one look at him and said "How can you trust anything that guy says, he has broken shoes and tape on his glasses". I have read body language for as long as I have been selling... so over time it just has transferred to my handicapping. When I was a lacrosse player I was a finisher... scored a lot of goals. I learned early that if you have the ball in close if you missed you got creamed, if you made it then everyone stopped. NO ONE likes to get hit so I found the best way to do it was to hold the ball for as long as possible and MAKE sure that I made it. Too bad it took so long for that lesson to spill over to my horse wagering. I was one of those nuts who tried to bet everything, I had some HUGE hits but lost more than I won. I decided about 3 years ago to take my time and just follow one circuit. Attendance at the track was doable(most days that I liked something) and soon became compulsory. I use numbers as a guide... but I trust what I see(real and taped races) and the horses up close. I would say that I don't PICK WINNERS(often) by looks alone. I use it way more for a few things 1. To eliminate favorites 2. To confirm(or deny) my strong plays. 3. Change since last race(positive or negative) 4. Change in WHO is at the paddock. 5. Body language of the human connections. And to Ron Z. and any others who like to read. My favorite book of the last 30 years is "Forrest Gump" by Winston Groom. Tons different than the movie. He was 6'6" 245 lbs and did a lot more things. When he is drafted into the army the SGT at the depot says "I need half of you over there, half of you over here and the other half come with me" Gump says "I may be a sh** for brains but even I could tell that this guy is a moron".
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Pat Gavin Even though I have learned everything I know about handicapping and wagering from the current and former contributors to this blog, I know I have lots more to learn. Please weigh in on any aspect of the game. May a thousand flowers bloom. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Anyone looking at Friday's 7th at AQU? I would value anyone's evaluation of Goldstandardlady. Thanks.
Edward Wright More than 1 year ago
Happy Thanksgivukkah to all.
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
I got an email from Curt V and he is quite distraught over the passing of his mare “Diamond Girl”…..here’s what he had to say in part: “Seems she died of twisted intestines. Not an uncommon thing the guy said. He sees it all the time. It brings on Colic, which in turn, brings demise in 12 to 48 hrs. They seem to get it from rolling around on the ground. Nothing one can do about it either. Seems logical I suppose, since she was never sick or never shown symptoms before”. I saw her picture & she was indeed a beautiful horse. God bless you Curt & RIP “Diamond Girl” Okiesharp
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
AZ Wildcat: Graffitist was listed as a gelding at LRL on 11-09-13 at 15-1 ML. Asunder by Stormy Atlantic won it. SA is one of my favorite sires on turf. Played the race with Graham Motion's two but nope, I did not have Asunder. For others - Graffitist is trained by Robert Ribaudo. He had trained at Fair Hill since late August with about 10 works listed (none turf). That trainer was listed that day as 0-14 in debuts;0-13 first turf; with 3-92 on grass. So the debut trip was likely for education with a let him stretch his legs late down the lane. The run lines reminds me of Shug M first out. I like AZ Wildcat's logic on this one. Low profile connections ensure a big number for sure.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Ron Z: You make a great point. I actually had not viewed it from that perspective. Zeewat had run 10 times in is two year career from various distances from 5 furlongs to 9 furlongs. I saw an animal in Zeewat that was basically a low 80 BSF type but had as you mention an improving pattern since earlier in his three year old campaign. He had the following figures in last five oldest to newest: 81; 76; 81; 91; 89. For him to move to a 107 like Groupie Doll got that would be a MAJOR +18 points move forward. That can happen. It seems a bit more prevalent with fire breather trainers off the claim but I thought it more likely he ran a nice mid-90 maybe upper 90 BSF with Flashback reverting back to his old pre-layoff mid 90 BSF levels (he did run one huge BSF prior) and so did Groupie Doll. Groupie Doll had run in 2013 the following figs 88; 99; 95 coming into the BC. If am wrong and everyone knows that is a very regular occurrence almost along the lines the sun will rise in the East then I will miss a 2-1 win mutuel on Groupie Doll versus males, shipping across country, with the race an afterthought. Plus my AQU Pick 4 goes up in smoke. I think she is played heavier in Pick 4 with virtually everyone using her and Goldencents. I am just taking a stand the number is inflated and consistent with my contrarian gambling nature. However, like I mention GD can win the Cigar Mile (capability per Mike A) and maybe even with a 97. She just does it without me. Thanks for the good luck wish on the maiden heavy CD card. It will likely be feast or famine. I better eat up good tomorrow. Good luck to you in all your wagers also!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Squanto & Dick W Okay, count me in on that 95 % + / -......I'd be guilty as charged....:-) Maybe I could petition the Sheriff for a pardon? Okiesharp